EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - The University of Minnesota (U of M) and the Minnesota Vikings have agreed on a deal that will allow the Vikings to use TCF Bank Stadium for the 2014 and 2015 NFL seasons while the team's new stadium is being built.
The agreement, which also allows for two additional seasons if necessary (at a slightly higher rental rate), is subject to approval by the U of M Board of Regents, which will vote on the proposal during its meeting Friday, May 10.
The deal was approved unanimously by the Regents Facilities and Operations Committee on Thursday.
"This partnership benefits the University, its neighbors, the Vikings and all Minnesota football fans," said University President Eric Kaler. "The Vikings will remain part of the Twin Cities region during construction of their new stadium, while proceeds will be used to enhance Gopher Athletics and invest in the fabric of our surrounding neighborhoods."
Kaler called the deal a "win-win" for the Vikings, the University and Minnesota football fans.
As part of the deal the Vikings will pay the U of M rent of $250,000 per game for the 2014 and 2015 seasons, with minimal increases if additional seasons were to be required. The team will also share $50,000 per game in concessions, advertising and sponsorship revenue.
In total, the Vikings will pay the University $300,000 per game, with a maximum of $3 million for each NFL season.
In addition, the Vikings agree to pay or reimburse the University for all expenses, expected to total in excess of $5 million per year.
"This collaborative process between the Vikings and the University has led to an agreement that will benefit all parties," said Vikings Vice President of Legal Affairs and Chief Administrative Officer Kevin Warren. "With this agreement solidified, we can now move forward on finalizing a plan that ensures the Vikings provide a great game day experience for our players, coaches and fans while having a positive impact on the University and the surrounding neighborhoods."
A potential sticking point for the deal was the head-to-head conflict of exclusive deals by both entities with competing soft drink companies.
The University has an exclusive arrangement with Coca-Cola for all campus venues, including TCF Bank Stadium. The Vikings have a deal with Pepsi at the Metrodome. The NFL has a deal with Gatorade which is not a Coca-Cola product.
The compromise is thus: Gatorade can be used on the sidelines at Vikings games at TCF. Gatorade and Pepsi can be sold at one suite at TCF and Pepsi advertisements can appear in the Vikings program. Other than that, only Coke products can be sold at TCF Bank Stadium during Vikings games.
The agreement also includes the creation of a Minnesota Vikings Good Neighbor Partnership Fund, a combination of cash and in-kind contributions that will amount to $125,000 per season. The fund will be used to implement projects that will be beneficial to nearby neighborhoods and businesses, allow for participation by the Vikings and their partners and be approved by the Vikings.
Lease and scheduling
- A standard NFL season includes 10 football games (two preseason and eight regular season games), plus any home playoff games.
- TCF Bank Stadium will be available for Sunday games as well as for Saturday games when there is not a conflict with a scheduled Gopher football home game. The Vikings may play one weeknight game per season when University classes are not in session and on a date approved by the University.
- The Vikings will work with the NFL to minimize conflicts with the University's academic calendar, intercollegiate athletic activities and other campus events.
Along with reimbursing the University for all Vikings game day expenses, the team will provide $3 million annually in compensation:
- $250,000 rent per game.
- $50,000 share of concessions, advertising and sponsorship revenue per game.
Certain improvements to TCF Bank Stadium are necessary for winter stadium operation. They are to be paid for by the Vikings and to meet specific NFL mandates, including:
- Installation of new turf and an appropriate heating element for the playing surface to be determined by Vikings and University officials.
- Installation of heat trace pipe to ensure cold weather plumbing functionality.
- Potential installation of additional temporary seating in the western end zone plaza, subject to approval by the University's building code division (number of seats yet to be determined by Vikings and University officials).
- Any necessary modification of existing video platform to meet NFL broadcast requirements.
- Installation of additional insulation in various locations around TCF Bank Stadium.
- Build-out storage space within TCF Bank Stadium.
Alcohol sales and consumption will be allowed in TCF Bank Stadium on Vikings game days, subject to Board of Regents policies and restrictions.
"Wine and beer would be available in the entire facility and then wine and beer and hard spirits would be available in the premium areas and, as well, should they have access to use the club rooms in Mariucci and Williams (arenas), that would be available as well," said Pam Wheelock, University Vice President.
Tailgating will be allowed in parking lots designated by the University under the same rules in effect for University football game days.
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